Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Terrorists are stupid.

Yes, the title is exaggerated, but you're reading, aren't you?

I must say, though, for the most part, terrorists are not the brightest lights in the night sky.

Think about it. I can plan a better terrorist attack than any of these bozos. So could you.

For example....You want terror? Screw blowing up the World Trade Center—over fifty thousand people worked there, and the WTC could have upwards of 100,000 visitors per day (the magic notebook sees all and retains all). Infect all of them with the bio-weapon of your choice. A little smallpox, for example, maybe plague in the HVAC system. Have it running all day, and you infect both employees and tourists. They, in turn, infect people while going to lunch, on the subway, the ferry, their families, and when tourists go home, they bring it back with them. Being a smart terrorist, you tell the states friendly to you that they should really restrict travel to and from New York, and possibly all of America, period.

By the time the penny drops at the CDC, most of New York City now needs to be quarantined. The economy starts drying up, slowly. Tourism is dead. Fifty thousand jobs in the two buildings are lost, assuming that the employees are not all simply dead.

And I'm not even thinking hard.

Ironically, despite the Wyle E. Coyote explosive in Times Square, the attack itself was the right idea from their point of view. If terrorists want to inspire terror, then small, but frequent, attacks are the way to go. People are scared, frightened, uncertain about what may come around the next corner.

However, a word to al-Qaeda, et al, upon looking at the Time Square incident: when you're acquiring explosives, avoid the ones marked ACME....

As I was saying—thus far, when terrorists can't come up with ideas that I can in my spare time, they should probably reconsider their career goals.

And they are not necessarily uneducated. Osama bin Laden, last I checked, had a degree in engineering—and if I'm mistaken, his family is fill with engineers so he should have some idea. Mohammed Atta, one of the 9-11 pilots, had an upper middle class education in Egypt.

Though it does make me wonder why, thus far, a lot of the terrorists coming our way seemed to have come out of the Wyle E. Coyote school of home explosives.

The Underwear Bomber whose bomb caught fire without going off.

The Times Square bomber, with a Rube Goldberg timer.

The best answer I can come up with is that we're getting all the cannon fodder, who seem as bright as cannonballs. Not to mention that they have few experienced fighters—when you encourage martyrdom in your ranks, you have few people around who can share hard won combat experience. It didn't work well for the kamikaze, I can tell you that.

If I were going to do a terrorist attack....

Before someone freaks out about giving them ideas, the media looked at the Time Square bomb and pointed out EXACTLY what was wrong with it. I'm not coming up with anything new.

As I was saying...

Let's look at Grand Central Station: use a biological weapon in the building. From there, it starts infecting the east coast with the plague of your choice. Or, suicide bombers in the terminal during rush hour would also be effective.

Look at Grant Central for a moment. No security checks in the main portion of the building. No metal detectors, x-rays, nothing. Even I could make an anti-personnel bomb and bring it inside. Bio weapons and suicide bombers would both leave the station itself virtually intact, and the building would eventually be reopened. But in the meantime, traffic would be shot to hell, and once it's reopened... well, would YOU want to go there? The damage would be done. The terminal would be seen by millions of people as a plague-infected site by the ignorant, or it would be seen as a monument of death. It would be a lingering, lasting monument to an attack that would cost hundreds [suicide bomber] if not thousands, or millions of lives [bio weapon].

Traffic would be crippled, either by a lack of people coming in, or by the level of security now required to fully scan everyone coming on or off a train, into or out of the station. It would be a NIGHTMARE, worse than blowing up the 59th street bridge.... then a smart terrorist would blow that up. They've already tried for the Brooklyn Bridge.

But why haven't they? I can make mustard gas, or a bomb, from my kitchen cabinet. My mother is a medical technologist, and she can make a bio weapon in the kitchen. Is it so impossible for al-Qaeda to find five guys to get an associates degree for medical technology, or chemistry? Anyone can come in through the Mexican-US border, so why hasn't a bio weapon attack happened?

It's easy to say “Because they're stupid.” In those cases of allowing cannon fodder to fire cannons, yes.

However, it's mostly because they're fairly undisciplined. Sure, al-Qaeda has training camps, but have have you seen some of the video footage from them? They come into rooms in a perfect shooting posture... for a firing range. Do a quick glance at Youtube with any footage of Jack Bauer (of 24 fame) moving through a room with a gun—gun is close in, both arms are tucked, feet in what look like a combat stance for MMA. This is called a Weaver Stance. Now look at the after terrorist training video, and note how they square their feet, and hold their guns out at arm's length, practically locking their elbows. Get some good recoil, they could break their arms.

It's not even an “ethnic” problem. Most terrorists are similar. The IRA for example. They've blow up the wrong targets, caught more people in the crossfire than some Palestinian terrorists, and the Palestinians are AIMING for the civilians.

Then there was the Japanese Red Army unit brought in to Israel to aid the Palestinians-- they got cut down in the airport because they didn't know the Israelis had security! Yes, and somewhere along the line, SOMEONE thought it was a good idea for Japanese communist terrorists to invade the Middle East. Maybe they thought everyone would think they were tourists...

And one day, I suspect, we will see an attempted nuclear strike on America. They may even make it happen.

Why do I say that would be stupid?

Because they'd be dead.

Mecca, Medina, gone. Saudi Arabia, gone. Oil fields? Saudi Arabia's population is mostly on the shoreline, away from the oil. Syria? Israel can have them, if they want them. Iran will either disarm, or be destroyed. And God help anyone who gives them a nuke in the first place. The party will be over. War on terror would be finished. And would the world protest?

“The world” would probably be the one doing the nuking. Because they know that using a nuke is crossing the line.

The UN would complain, as would all the usual suspects, but would they really do anything? Nope, why would they? Environmental disasters? Not really, the Middle east is a large sandlot, and the populations that aren't nuked can be transplanted [although the winds won't be able to carry the radiation that far east, and remember that OUR nukes come with very little fallout].

Aren't I being callous about this? A nuclear strike would be on either NY or DC, and the Secretary of agriculture would be the head of the country.

Well, if DC, we have elections, and the bureaucracy is really hard to destroy, not to mention the amount of bunkers floating around the politicians. The Pakistani bomb requires a warhead the size of a volleyball, and MAY destroy midtown Manhattan [US warheads are the size of a bottle of Pepsi and can vaporize the 5 boroughs], and I live in Queens, so I should be relatively safe, because I intend to run like hell after the initial explosion, or at least head East, away from the fallout. Or I'll be dead, and I won't have to worry much about it, now would I?

However, would it really come to that? It might. But given the performance thus far, I am reminded of an old joke ....

Q: How can you tell a Soviet nuclear submariners apart from the other members of the fleet?

A: Because they glow in the dark.

If terrorists were smart about attacking the United States, they'd do it. They'd be sending people across the Mexican border daily for the sole purpose of heading directly to a target. Any target.

My father, a professor in Philosophy, came up with the idea of blowing up the New Orleans dams as a terrorist attack in 2000. Now it's a little late for that. Apparently, a family of academics dickering around with this as a mental exercise can come up with a better plan than bin Laden himself.

Ah, but “What about 9-11?”

The only reason they could get away with 9/11 is that the hostage playbook said be calm, you'll be ransomed for later, just play nice with the hostage takers. Not to mention that planes involved in 9-11 came out of Boston. As comedian Carlos Mencia has noted, before 9-11, someone flying Southwest airlines said he would rush the cockpit. When the plane landed, this guy had already been stomped to death.

Not to Osama: please, fly Southwest.

After 9/11, the playbook was rewritten. Even the passengers of Flight 93 knew better. Sneaker-Bomber Boy was nearly torn apart by the passengers around him, so we know the rules have changed. I want to see some terrorists pull box cutters on board a plane coming out of La Guardia and see how long they last.

The terrorist threat to this country remains, but there are days I think it's just a threat. Looking at the genius exhibited thus far by those to have tried to attack the mainland, I'm just glad that either they're stupid, or we're lucky.

Unfortunately, sometimes idiots can get lucky.

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